Our law firm is very sensitive to the needs of clients facing prosecution for sexual offenses. Unlike other crimes, sex offenses carry a social stigma that demands the highest caliber of professionalism on the part of the defense lawyer. To best represent someone accused of a sex crime, a defense lawyer must always be thinking forward. Knowing the prosecutor’s next move is crucial. To win, your lawyer must stay ahead of the game and be prepared for any contingency.
Most Common Sexual Offenses:
- Enticement of Minors
- Possession of Child Pornography
- Possession of Obscene Materials
- Lewd or Lascivious Battery
- Sexual Battery
- Exposure of Sexual Organs
- Solicitation of Prostitution
No matter how serious your charges are, our law firm is prepared to aggressively challenge the prosecution’s case. Depending on the specific facts of your case, prosecutors may charge you with a host of different crimes. Generally speaking, the younger the alleged victim and the more sexual contact that was had, the more serious the offense will be. Moreover, prosecutors have the authority to charge an offender with one count for each and every alleged illegal act.
If you are facing prosecution for a sex crime, you are likely going to be charged with one or more of the following offenses: (please note that this list is not comprehensive nor does not appear in any particular order)
- Armed Sexual Battery
- Sexual Battery – Victim Less than 12 Years of Age
- Sexual Battery – Victim 12 Years of Age or Under
- Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors
- Lewd and Lascivious Battery
- Lewd and Lascivious Molestation
- Possession of Child Pornography
- Possession of Child Pornography with Intent to Sell
- Child Abuse
- Aggravated Child Abuse
- Neglect of a Child
- Indecent Exposure
- Solicitation of a Child Under 18 Years of Age
When it comes to defending someone accused of a sexual offense or child abuse/neglect, whether it appears in the above list or not, the following issues must be investigated by your lawyer:
- Can the alleged victim positively identify you as the offender?
- Does the age or infirmity of the alleged victim prevent that person from making a an accurate and reliable identification?
- Has the alleged victim provided an inconsistent or contradictory description of the offender?
- If there is more than one victim, is there more than one description of the offender?
- Do the descriptions given by the victim or victims contradict each other or are they consistent?
- In what ways do you resemble or differ from the description or sketch of the offender?
- Was the victim presented with a photo-line up? If so, were you pointed out by the victim? Was the photo line-up conducted objectively? Was the photo line-up done according to the requirements of law?
- Are you the only suspect presented to the victim for identification?
- What efforts, if any, did police make to rule out or identify other possible suspects?
- Was the victim under any stress, undue influence, or pressure when identifying you as the offender?
- Did law enforcement make any suggestive remarks or comments that may have influenced the victim’s identification or statement?
Was any DNA evidence recovered?
- If so, how long after the alleged incident was it recovered? Can it be tested?
- Where was the DNA sample recovered? Clothing, a crime scene, from the victim?
- What kind of body fluid was the DNA extracted from – blood, saliva, semen?
- Was the sample properly collected? Was it properly stored before testing?
- Has an untested portion of the sample been preserved?
- Was a presumptive test conducted? If so, what were the results?
- Was the DNA ultimately sent to a laboratory for testing?
- Was the DNA sample large enough to be tested reliably?
- Was the DNA sample of high enough quality to be tested reliably?
- If the sample was tested, what were the results?
- What testing method was used by the laboratory?
Is there any electronic evidence, such as a recorded phone call, surveillance video, emails, chat logs, text messages, or downloaded explicit imagery?
- If so, were the proper protocols for collecting, preserving, and storing electronic evidence followed?
- If a recorded phone call was made, are the voices on the tape audible? Is the prosecution able to positively identify the voice on the recording as yours?
- How did law enforcement learn of the existence of any emails, text messages, chat logs, downloaded images or video?
- Where was the electronic evidence collected? Was it copied from an electronic device? If so, was the original electronic device preserved for defense inspection?
- Is the electronic evidence relevant to the case? What does it prove, what does it disprove?
- Does the evidence contain explicit images or explicit text?
- Is there proof that you were the sender or receiver of the evidence?
- Is there proof that you knew or should have known of the existence of the explicit imagery on your electronic device?
- Has your computer been droned by an internet hacker to store explicit imagery without your knowledge or permission?
Was any fiber evidence recovered?
- If so, where was it recovered from?
- Was it properly collected, stored, and preserved?
- What kind of fiber is it? Natural? Synthetic?
- What testing, if any, was the fiber evidence subjected to?
- What are the implications of the fiber evidence? What does it prove?
- What control samples were used to compare the recovered evidence to?
- What physical characteristics did the fiber analysts use to positively identify the fiber? Thickness, shape, color, shimmer, clarity, etc?
- Is the fiber available for defense inspection?
- Was more than one type of fiber collected? If so, have the sources of the other fibers been identified?
Were fingerprints recovered?
- If so, where were they recovered from?
- If not, why didn’t the police dust the crime scene for fingerprints?
- How long after the alleged crime were the prints recovered?
- Are they partial prints? Were they smudged? What is the quality of the samples collected?
- Was the fingerprint analyst able to make a positive match to your prints?
- Do the fingerprints have any relevance to your case? What do they prove, if anything?
- Were another person’s prints recovered from the crime scene?
Was a weapon recovered?
- If so, what kind of weapon?
- Where was the weapon found?
- If the weapon is a firearm, is there evidence that it was fired?
- Were any discharged bullets recovered? Have any shell casings been recovered?
- Has the firearm or the bullets been subjected to ballistic analysis?
- Does the weapon have any blood spatter, residue, fingerprints, dents, or scratches on it that reveal anything about the incident?
- Is the defendant linked in any way to the weapon? Is another person or suspect linked to the weapon?
- What relevance does the weapon have to your case, if any? What does it prove?
- Does the alleged victim know you?
- Are you related to the victim?
- Does the victim have any reason to falsely accuse you or to exaggerate?
- Is the victim motivated in any way by anger, jealousy, or revenge?
- Does the victim have a financial motivation to falsely accuse you of a crime?
- Is the victim motivated by divorce or child custody proceedings?
- Is the victim mentally stable?
- Does the victim have a history of making false allegations?
- Has the victim made similar accusations about other people?
- Does the victim have a criminal history?
- How long did it take for the victim to report the offense to law enforcement?
- If applicable, why did the victim wait to report the crime?
- Are there any independent witnesses that contradict or confirm the claim of the victim? If so, are these witnesses biased for or against you in any way? Are they credible?
- If there are independent witnesses, did they see all of part of the alleged incident?
- Did they witness events that led up to the incident or that followed the incident?
- Is their testimony relevant to the case?
Sexual Battery Summarized
One of the most serious crimes a person can be charged with is sexual battery. The penalties, whether it is the court imposed penalty, or the sexual stigma attached to the crime, are severe.
A “regular” battery and a sexual battery are very similar, because of the nature of the elements. Both crimes deal with non-consensual physical contact. The first thing a good defense attorney will do is look at the circumstances surrounding the unconsented to touching. The reason for this is that there are a variety of different types of sexual batteries.
Some of the types of sexual battery are as follows: sexual battery with a victim less than 12 years of age, with a victim greater than 12 years of age, with the use of a deadly weapon or force, with a victim that is between 12 and 18 and the defendant is in a familial or custodial relationship with the victim.
Sexual Battery- Victim is less than 12 years old.
In order to be convicted of a sexual battery with a victim under 12 years of age, the State must prove the following:
- The victim was less than 12 years old
- The defendant committed a sex act either with/upon the victim which involved the defendant’s sex organs having union or penetration with the anus, vagina, or mouth of the victim OR The defendant committed a sex act on the victim during which an object was used to penetrate the anus or vagina of the victim OR the defendant injured the sex organ(s) of the victim during an attempted sex act with/upon the victim which would have included the penetration/union of the victim’s anus, vagina, or mouth with the sex organs of the defendant
- The defendant was 18 years or older and the victim was less than 18 years old at the time of the offense.
Just like any other criminal case, the prosecution has the burden to prove all of the elements beyond and to the exclusion of any reasonable doubt. A good criminal defense attorney will attack each element, and present any and all reasonable doubt to the jury as to each element of the crime.
Defenses to Sexual Battery
Defenses to sexual battery will vary greatly from case to case. That said, some of the best evidence a prosecutor has in a sexual battery comes is forensic evidence, such as DNA and fiber evidence. Although many people are under the impression that the presence of DNA means a case is open and shut, that is not the case. For example, just because DNA/semen is found near a victim’s sexual organs does not mean a battery occurred. The presence of DNA does not prove that there was a forced sexual act, nor does it prove when the sex act occurred. In fact, it may prove that there was consensual sex. However, if the charge is sexual battery on a victim under 12 years of age, the presence of DNA/semen near sexual organs would be dispositive since there is no reason that DNA/semen of another person should be near a 12 year-old’s sexual organs.
As you can see from reading the above, sexual battery cases can often have very sensitive evidence that many jurors would not be willing to view without bias.
In a regular sexual battery, or rape case, the relationship between the victim and defendant is very important. For example, if the victim and defendant are a couple, or ex-lovers, or two people that met after a night of heavy drinking at a club, the issue of consent will play a very large factor in the case.
In such cases, the defendant may not deny that there was a sexual encounter. Cases like this often revolve around the issue of consent. Just because the victim woke up with memory loss or feelings of guilt or remorse does not mean that there was no consent.
A good defense attorney will delve into the relationship of the victim and the defendant, as well as the credibility of the victim, before diving headfirst into scientific evidence like DNA. After all, why spend time investigating the DNA if the question at hand is whether the victim consented?